Tag Archives: atomic bomb

The Implosion Conspiracy – Louis Nizer – How the USSR got the Atomic Bomb

I noticed someone found the blog about the conspiracy to sell the atomic bomb to the Rooskies by Louis Nizer. Caused me to read it over again, then to decide I’d enjoy actually checking it out of a library for another time through it. What I said about it in the February 2012 blog entry surprised me. I remember almost none of it. Jack

So Far From Heaven

When Louis Nizer penned The Implosion Conspiracyit might be said enough time had passed to provide perspective.  Two decades had passed since the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs rocked the nation.  Nizer disliked Communists, asserted he’d refuse to defend one in his profession as a defense attorney.  However, he wrote a lengthy analysis of the trial, the transcripts, testimonies, the individuals involved in an even-handed manner that wouldn’t have been possible during the Commie craze days of the events.

Basic events leading to the trial:  The US was developing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the late stages of WWII.  The information was being shared with the US Ally, Britain, but kept secret from the US Ally, the USSR.  Elaborate security measures were in place to assure the developments remained the exclusive property of the US and British governments.  Elaborate almost beyond description, devised by the US military…

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“If those Japanese could have held out through one more atomic bomb we wouldn’t be eating this crap!”

Hi readers.  Here’s wishing you a fulfilling independence from having the British for your bosses ordering you around and making you drink their damned tea.  If our ancestors hadn’t won their independence from the British we’d have had to fight on their side during WWI and WWII, the way their other colonies did.

Anyway, that WWI museum got me thinking about what GIs used to eat.  There was a long shelf of displays of their mess kits, carved fancier than a POW would do.  Beautiful designs and artwork produced while their feet were rotting off in trenches between having the bejesus shelled out of them and being sniped at across no-man’s-land.

 In Korea, at least in the First Cavalry Division, what we ate in 1963-1964 whenever we were on field rations was all left over from WWII.  1945ish WWII.  K Rations.

Breakfast Unit  Canned meat product Biscuits Compressed cereal bar Powdered coffee Fruit bar Chewing gum Sugar tablets Four cigarettes Water-purification tablets Can opener Wooden spoon

Breakfast Unit
Canned meat product
Biscuits
Compressed cereal bar
Powdered coffee
Fruit bar
Chewing gum
Sugar tablets
Four cigarettes
Water-purification tablets
Can opener
Wooden spoon

Camp Howze, Korea, had an enormous bunker chock full of K Rations of the nostalgic variety dating from before the Japanese surprised us with a surrender while we still had an atomic bomb and one-hell-of-a-lot of K Rations left.  I can testify from personal experience the US Army was patriotic and continued eating those rations 20 years after the premature and cowardly surrender of Japan.

Dinner Unit  Canned cheese product Biscuits A candy bar Chewing gum Powdered beverage Granulated sugar Salt tablets Cigarettes Matches Can opener  Wooden spoon

Dinner Unit
Canned cheese product
Biscuits
A candy bar
Chewing gum
Powdered beverage
Granulated sugar
Salt tablets
Cigarettes
Matches
Can opener
Wooden spoon

 Our quonsot hut had a corner filled with Ks still in the cartons so we could fill those long winter nights with partying song, beer, and anything worth eating in a crate of Ks.

Supper Unit Canned meat product Biscuits Bouillon powder Candy Chewing gum Powdered coffee Granulated sugar Cigarettes Can opener Toilet paper Wooden spoon

Supper Unit
Canned meat product
Biscuits
Bouillon powder
Candy
Chewing gum
Powdered coffee
Granulated sugar
Cigarettes
Can opener
Toilet paper
Wooden spoon

The cigarettes in ours weren’t Chesterfields.  Ours were Lucky Strikes in a Green package.  As in the old radio WWII jingle, “Lucky Strike green has gone to war!”  Lucky Strike changed colors after the war to red and white, but Luckies kept right on fighting in green until all those damned Ks were consumed by GIs.

Ahhh.  Nothing like sparking up a Lucky out of a carton of Ks, working fast to inhale a little tobacco smoke before it burned down to your fingertips.  Those smokes were 20 years old and we never found a way to add enough moisture to keep them smoking instead of burning.

And the chocolate!  The godforsaken chocolate turned white with age.  We didn’t care.  Everything in those Ks got tried and nobody ever died from them.  And I never heard of anyone getting drunk from them.

Fact was, a person with extra money could go to the PX and get crackers, but if he did he’d have to share with the whole hooch.  Same with sardines.  And we had KATUSAs in our hooch.  Four of them.  Korean Augmentations to the US Army.  And those bastards could go through a case of crackers, cans of sardines, quicker than you could make a grab for a can before they were gone.

But even the KATUSAs couldn’t make remarkably short work of a case of Ks.  There was always enough for everyone, along with some leftovers to munch on guard duty.

Damn.  These modern all-volunteer military guys are spoiled.  Except maybe in Korea.  Hell, in Korea they might still be eating Ks and wishing to hell the Japanese had gutted out another atomic bomb.

Old Jules

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking

geiger counter

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Tom, the retired USAF colonel who occupied the office next to me in the bomb shelter of the old National Guard HQ in Santa Fe, NM, should have known a lot about radioactivity.   He spent the entire Cuban Missile Crisis camped under the wing of his B-47 bomber.  Had all kinds of tales about the flight maneuvers a pilot had to perform to drop a hydrogen bomb and come away in one piece.

The New Mexico Emergency Planning and Management Bureau [EMPAC] was all housed in that bomb shelter.  Most of the section chiefs were retired colonels, except my humble self, and Louis, head of Radiation Control.  When nothing was going on there’d always be a few of us gathered in one office or another telling and listening to interesting experiences in our varied pasts.

So when Tom found his travel schedule was going to coincide with the one-day-per-year the Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was detonated allowed visitors, we all envied him.  He was gone a week travelling all over the State, and a few days after he returned several of us gathered in his office to hear all about it.

Naturally there’d been a nice dog and pony show at an old ranch house from the time a mile or so away, now converted to oversight center.  Then, off to ground zero.

Tom described how it was all bare sand and soil, how they’d scraped away all the green glass that used to cover the spot.  How visitors were warned not to pick up any of that green glass if they should find a piece. 

So when his glance downward showed him a piece of that green glass peeking out of the sand near his foot, of course he had to tie his shoe.  Slipped it into his pocket.  Gave us all a sly smile when he pulled it out and held it in his palm.

Wow!  A piece of green glass from the first nuclear detonation on earth!  We all wanted to hold it.  Passed it around, all except Louis.  Our Rad Control section head.  He stepped back a pace when his turn came to hold it.

I’d like to put an instrument on that.”  Louis had access to plenty of instruments, had more than a thousand of them spotted all over New Mexico.  Part of the mission of his section was going around changing the batteries on those Geiger Counters regularly.

He was out the door and back while the rest of us waited in mild curiosity.  The glass was back on Tom’s desk and Louis clicked the power switch.  Didn’t actually have to get too near with the probe to peg the needle.  Didn’t have to put on the headset to hear the buzz.  We all heard it.

Louis had a straight shot at the doorway and he was first out.  Followed closely by everyone but Tom.  He just sat staring at that piece of green glass.  Probably wondering what the hell to do with it.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Trinity Site, but I never got around to it.  Even when I was living several years just up the road from it.

Old Jules

The Implosion Conspiracy – Louis Nizer – How the USSR got the Atomic Bomb

When Louis Nizer penned The Implosion Conspiracy it might be said enough time had passed to provide perspective.  Two decades had passed since the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs rocked the nation.  Nizer disliked Communists, asserted he’d refuse to defend one in his profession as a defense attorney.  However, he wrote a lengthy analysis of the trial, the transcripts, testimonies, the individuals involved in an even-handed manner that wouldn’t have been possible during the Commie craze days of the events.

Basic events leading to the trial:  The US was developing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico during the late stages of WWII.  The information was being shared with the US Ally, Britain, but kept secret from the US Ally, the USSR.  Elaborate security measures were in place to assure the developments remained the exclusive property of the US and British governments.  Elaborate almost beyond description, devised by the US military and the FBI.

But the British liaison to the project was physicist Klaus Fuchs, a spy for the Soviet Union.  The Germans knew Fuchs to be a Soviet spy, but the British and Americans didn’t, until they gained access to records captured as they advanced into Germany.

Aside from Fuchs, the other USSR source for information about developments at Los Alamos was David Greenglass, a US Army machinist and brother to Ethyl Rosenberg.  Greenglass had been a Communist his entire adult life and had been separated from an earlier military job because of questions about his loyalty and honesty.

David Greenglass stole the crucial secrets of the lens molds used to detonate the bomb, the implosion device.  By hindsight, it’s clear he did it for money, for the same reasons he stole automobile parts, uranium, anything he could lay hands on to sell on the black market.

Greenglass passed the secrets to his wife, Ruth, who passed them to Harry Gold.  Gold was the direct connection to the Soviet spymaster, Yakovlev, in the Soviet Embassy.  It’s clear enough from everything provided in evidence and testimony that Gold was a man without loyalty to any nation, ideal, idea, or human being other than himself.  He did it for the money and for no other reason. 

The testimony of Greenglass, awaiting trial for treason, and his wife, Ruth, who  was never charged, provided the testimony connecting Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg to the plot.  The witness stand accusations by Greenglass against his sister and brother-in-law, and the corroborating testimony from his wife, who didn’t yet know whether she’d be charged, constituted almost the only evidence of the prosecution.  The other witnesses directly involved in the plot mostly did not know the Rosenbergs, or barely knew them and knew little of their activities.

Because of the weakness of the government case insofar as testimony and physical evidence of the Rosenberg involvement in actual spy activities, the focus of the prosecution became a trial of Communist ideology.  Witnesses who knew nothing about the plot, the bomb secrets, the Rosenbergs  were called to testify about how they’d switched their own loyalties from Fascism to Communism, then become loyal US citizen-experts making a living selling books and giving lectures on the insidiousness of Communism.

The trial transcripts excerpts Nizer provides make it clear the Defense had two opponents:  the US Attorney prosecutor, and the judge, who constantly intervened, interrupted, interjected in ways clearly intended to prejudice the jury against the defendants.

The key players who gave, or sold the atomic bomb to the USSR in 1945 went free, or were given relatively light sentences.

The Rosenbergs, clearly Communist idealists, possibly part of the plot, died in the electric chair.

When Allied forces found documents in Germany revealing Fuchs as a Soviet spy the chain of resulting indictments followed a path to almost all the conspirators except the Rosenbergs.  Before spymaster Yakovlev fled the US, during his last meeting with Gold, he made the following observations:

Yakovlev:  Don’t you remember anything I tell you?  You’ve been a sitting duck all this time.  We probably are being watched right now.  How we pick such morons I’ll never understand!  We’ve been living in a goldfish bowl because of you.  Idiot!  Idiot! 

I am leaving the country immediately.  I’ll never see you again.  Just go away.  Don’t follow me.

He went.

But the answer to Yakoviev’s question is worth an answer.  They recruited from the US Government, the US military, from US universities, from US businessmen.

From the same pool of applicants who later sold their industries, their industrial tools, secrets, capabilities, economies, and debts to the Peoples Republic of China and other foreign nations.

They weren’t Communists, like the Rosenbergs.  They were opportunists, entrepreneurs, devil-take-the-hindmost politicians, like their descendants a few generations later.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Value of Animal vs. Human Lives?

Old Jules, does an animal’s life mean as much or nearly as much to you as a human’s, or do you feel animals are insignificant/worthless in comparison? Also, do you believe it is ever morally right to harm/kill animals? What about humans?